Survival 101

General Knowledge/Overview

Before diving right in to types of survival, when to make a fire, how to make traps and all that really good stuff, I want to relate two of the most important overarching themes of survival I can think of. However, I’ll take one more moment to say we tend to think of survival as a nomads game in an apocalyptic world. That could be the case someday. We tend to think of it as crashing in a plane or being lost. Both may happen. Power grid gone? Also, yes. There is a deeper root of survival that does not need to wait for a catastrophe or serious accident to kick it. We can use it and polish it in our everyday lives to succeed and overcome just as we might if civilization were to fail. It is, of course, the power of the mind to be unstoppable, unflappable, determined and even positive when the “suck” comes to call.

Ultimately, I will jump back and forth between physical and physiological aspect to survival with applications in what we typically think of when we hear “survival” in our modern everyday lives. In order to make it in any state of the world, mental and physical preparation are inseparable.

The Importance of a Positive Attitude

You may have been studying survival and overcoming obstacles for years. Or, maybe it has been a growing interest that you have recently given voice. Regardless, I want to stress two things: first, we cannot be prepared for every possible catastrophe. We do our best, we prepare, we study, we plan and like it or not, our best may not be good enough, but at least we go as warriors. There will come a time when our number is called and there will be nothing more to do than to look forward to that next big adventure. Second, no matter who you admire or look up to, the key for success, or the best chance of it, is to maintain a positive attitude. I’ve always liked the phrase, “Embrace the suck”. “Suck” will be with you all the days of your life in one way or another. We cannot avoid it, pass it by or pass it off. It will be ours. If we fight the “suck” we stress, we stop thinking of creative ways to move on, or move out, and we lose precious time. If you take a close look at individuals who are generally awesome you will find many common threads. However, I submit the most universal is a positive attitude regardless of situation. There is a reason we don’t run into generally awesome people every day. It is possible you do depending on your associations. For the rest of us maintaining a positive attitude regardless of who we are around or what is happening is damn hard and can take a lifetime to master. Certainly, don’t look at me as the figure of self-control and perpetual optimism. I saw an interview of a football coach who was asked if he was nervous for his big game, he said “Do I feel nervous?! No, nervous is something you feel when you’re not prepared.” Spot on for what we’re talking about. Don’t let the stress of the moment interfere with your better judgment. Do the best you can. Learn, plan, know your “enemy” and your environment, stretch yourself and take it step by step. Trying to bite off the problem all at once can upheave the most tranquil mind. Sometimes it’s best to go no further than the next footstep and say, “If I can put my left foot down than my right can follow”.


If you haven’t read the May 17, 2014 University of Texas Commencement by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, read it.

Of course this mountain of a man knows more about what he was expressing than I do. However, I will summarize:

  1. Give yourself something, and accomplish it first thing.
  2. The world is a rough place. Working with someone who helps and supports you will do wonders.
  3. As we go through life we see a lot of what others and the media tell us are important. Measure people by their heart not their celebrity, wealth, size…
  4. No matter what you do, life is unfair and we can’t do anything about it.
  5. You will fail by design at some point. Don’t let the will of others set your course.
  6. Knowing that others will have premeditated designs against you should not deter you. Failure comes often and it is almost always hard to deal with and it will test you. Measure up.
  7. Looking at creative ways to solve problems can and will be seen as different and sometime foolish. They can also be risky. Life is full of risk. Fortune favors the bold.
  8. People are jealous creatures. They see success, happiness, great attitude…and they want to bring it/you down. If we are to succeed we must stand our ground.
  9. When life is the hardest you will have to be at your best.
  10. Keep a smile on your face and hope/smile in your heart when the “suck” comes to call.
  11. Never give up. Easier said than done, I know.

A lot of this may seem like common knowledge. I’m here to tell you this knowledge is not at all common. It’s hard, hard as nails hard, but practice and the right attitude can and will surprise you. Again, I’m no figurehead in this department. I’m learning right beside the rest of you.